FAVOURITES Zimbabwe blew a half-time lead against Georgia to once again finish as runners-up at the Kwese 7s rugby tournament at Harare Sports club yesterday.
The Cheetahs fell 19-14 after failing to add any further points on the board in the second period.
They had seemed on course to complete a clean sweep by local teams when they took a 14-7 lead at the break.
The female side, the Lady Cheetahs had set the tone for a party mood at the Machinery Exchange stadium at Harare Sports Club when they thumped Zambia 31-0 in their final.
But somehow, African champions Zimbabwe, fielding a team largely of rookies paid some for defensive errors in the second half as they surrendered their lead and had to settle for the silver.
The Georgians capitalised on the hosts defensive errors in a clinical come back to score two tries in the second half that silenced the home crowd.
Coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba may not be pleased with the final result but remains optimistic ahead of the Hong Kong Sevens and prospects of Olympic Qualification.
“Unfortunately we did not get the result we wanted, Georgia wanted to win this and they did everything to deserve that win.”
“We are keeping our heads up high and we have achieved a lot of what we planned as we approach the Hong Kong Sevens and other events to come, the key thing was identifying weaknesses and strengths which we did this weekend,” said Nyamutsamba.
While Nyamutsamba’s men disappointed, it was a different story for the Lady Cheetahs.
Having conceded only one try in their five matches in the two-day tournament the ladies were flawless, proving how important it is for the ever ameliorating spirited side to use a blend of experienced players and emerging stars.
One the team’s old guards Charity “Choki” Mucucuti opened the scoring and the speed and leadership of Constance “Kadiki” Ngwende gave Zambia a torrid time.
Lady Cheetahs were inspired by Caroline Malenga, Precious Marange and Lissy Wasarirevhu.
“I cannot describe how it feels to win a championship in front of our home fans, they were supporting us all the way and we have won their hearts by giving our best at every moment.”
“All three teams representing the Lady Cheetahs gave their hearts out for two days of go0d rugby and we hope to get to play at even bigger tournaments,” said captain Ngwende.